Wabauskang First Nation
December 17, 2012
Wabauskang First Nation has instructed its lawyers to file a lawsuit at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice opposing Rubicon Mineral’s proposed Phoenix Gold Mine project in Red Lake, Ontario.
“This has been an extremely frustrating process for our First Nation from day one,” said Wabauskang Chief Leslie Cameron. “Despite our concerns that the entire process review was deeply flawed, Rubicon refused to withdraw its mine application last fall and Ontario approved it over our objections. We didn’t want to go to court, so even though we don’t think Ontario had the authority to approve the mine, we tried to work with the company over the last year to resolve our concerns. We’ve been unsuccessful, so we’re forced to go to court to ensure that our interests are protected.”
Relying on last year’s court win by the Grassy Narrows First Nation in Keewatin, Wabauskang has consistently taken the position that only Canada, not Ontario, can justify an infringement of its Treaty rights. Wabauskang has also repeatedly complained to both Ontario and the federal government that constitutional obligations to consult and accommodate have been wrongly delegated to mining companies. Both Ontario and Canada have ignored Wabauskang’s concerns.
“Our Treaty relationship is with Canada,” said Chief Cameron. “The federal government stands by and lets Ontario delegate consultation to mining companies, such as Rubicon, who then say they aren’t responsible. Government has to deal with us directly. They can’t hide behind mining companies.”
Chief Cameron added that until Wabauskang’s rights and interests are respected, Wabauskang will actively oppose all of Rubicon’s activities in Treaty 3 lands. “On Rubicon’s website, they claim their project is low risk given their great track record with First Nations. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They don’t have Wabauskang’s support. We’ll oppose them every way possible. As far as we’re concerned, we’re in a similar position that Wahgoshig First Nation is in with Solid Gold Resources. Ontario and Canada have to realize that First Nations in Ontario aren’t going to take this
anymore. Government has to fulfill their obligations directly with First Nations.”
For more information please contact:
Chief Leslie Cameron